Pundits had predicted Arsenal would struggle during the tough run of games in December, and after three games played in all competitions they are being proven right. The Gunners had Hull City (home), Everton (home), Napoli (away), Man City (away), Chelsea (home), West Ham (away), and Newcastle (away). Many felt if the Londoneers could emerge victorious from the majority of the games, they could then be regarded as serious title contenders.
After a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in their final Champions League group game last night, the result meant Arsenal scraped second-place and will now be dealt a tough draw in the last-16. But who could the Gunners be paired with when the Champions League draw is made?
Last season’s semi-finalists finished as comfortable Group B winners this campaign. The Spaniards amassed 16 points from a possible 18, scoring 20 goals in the process. Forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been on fire, scoring a record nine group game goals, and as a result he’s the leading scorer in this season’s tournament. Carlo Ancelotti’s men are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Hamburg midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu has been on the radar of Premier League leaders Arsenal, according to the player’s official representative.
The talented footballer has impressed in German Bundesliga this season, scoring 4 goals in 14 appearances and was in turn linked with a number of high-profile clubs.
Liverpool are believed to be considering a move for the German-born midfielder, while his agent has also cited Arsenal interest.
“We know of Arsenal’s interest. I think they will make a concrete move in December or January,” agent Bektas Demirtas told Hamburger Morgenpost.
Defender Bacary Sagna is set to sit out of Arsenal’s last group game of the Champions League away to Napoli. The right-back sustained a hamstring injury against Cardiff City at the end of November which paves the way for young Carl Jenkinson to deputise as a result.
Manager Arsene Wenger was coy on how long the French international could be missing for, but it’s likely Sagna will miss a number of Christmas fixtures. The 30-year old has been ever-present for Arsenal this season, and is finally set to sign a new deal in the coming week.
Prior to tonight’s meeting with Serie A side Napoli, opponents Arsenal will certainly fancy their chances of remaining top of their group. The Gunners need just a point from their last game in order to achieve the top spot going into the next round.
With Borussia Dortmund playing the group’s whipping boys Marseilles, it’s expected the German outfit will be taking all three points and therefore putting the pressure on Arsene Wenger’s men to win in Naples.
Arsenal (12 pts), Borussia Dortmund (9 pts), Napoli (9 pts), Marseilles (0 pts)
TalkSport has revealed Barcelona B forward Tonny Sanabria could be joining Arsenal in the coming days. The 17-year old has scored twice in his eight appearances for the Catalan giants’ B team, while also featuring for Paraguay on three occasions – with his debut for the country coming this season.
Sanabria joined Barcelona’s academy when he was just 13 years old, and moved into the famed La Masia facilities. At the start of last season the youngster trained with the Barcelona first-team, but has yet to make a full debut with the side.
French full-back Bacary Sagna is on the verge of agreeing a new contract at the Emirates, Sports Direct News has revealed.
The 30-year-old has entered the final year of his deal in North London and was believed to be considering his future amidst rumours linking him with a summer switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
However, it looks as though he has decided to remain at the Emirates after all, having all but agreed to sign a new two-year contract.
The club were initially reluctant to offer the Frenchman a two-year deal due to his age, but it looks as though they have realised that was the only way to keep hold of their prized asset.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are lining up a bid for Ajax attacking-midfielder Davy Klaassen. The 20-year old has been enjoying a prolific season from a personal note, and as a result has been attracting the interest of a number of European clubs.
With six goals in eight Dutch Eredivisie games this campaign, Klaassen has been making a real name for himself after finally breaking into the Ajax first-team – most recently netting a hat trick against NAC Breda. He’s being tipped to feature in the Netherlands squad for the 2014 World Cup next summer.
Premier League leaders Arsenal visit Naples to face Napoli on Wednesday night in the final game of the Champions League group stages. The Gunners only have to avoid a heavy defeat to progress into the knockout stages of the competition.
However, Arsene Wenger’s side are currently top of Group F and will be looking to qualify in style with a victory in Italy. A draw will be enough to clinch first place in the group and could see Napoli eliminated.
Arsenal’s next Premier League opponents are free-scoring Manchester City at the Etihad, and considering the Citizens’ 100% home record, many feel the Gunners could slip up next weekend.
Wenger’s men lost 1-0 to Manchester United upon their last trip to Manchester, and will be hoping a similar fate isn’t repeated when they travel to face United’s fierce rivals.
City have scored seven more goals than any other league side this season (41), while their home form is impressive with just two goals conceded. Manager Manuel Pellegrini has his men firing on all cylinders this campaign.